This review contains spoilers.
In the absence of major Star Wars film releases, the show has claimed its place at the heart of the galaxy far, far away… In doing so, it has established itself as one of the most consistently entertaining Star Wars creations.
When The Mandalorian was first announced in 2018, most Star Wars fans anticipated a genre-bending spaghetti western unlikely to touch on many significant existing storylines. This, for the most part, is what was delivered across the first season - albeit with the unexpected twist of a force-sensitive child serving as the deuteragonist. The show's second season, however, has raised the bar on every front. Production quality, storytelling, excitement and relevance in the overall story of Star Wars. In terms of jaw-dropping moments and breathtaking set design, The Mandalorian is superior to nearly any series or film in recent memory.
The series' arc follows Din Djarin (the Mandalorian/Mando) seeking to return Grogu (Baby Yoda/The Child) to his people, the Jedi. By this stage in their journey, Mando and Grogu have established a bond akin to that of a father and son. It is incredibly heartwarming to see a cold-blooded bounty hunter in such a vulnerable position as he carries around an infant. The duo has already solidified themselves as one of the most memorable partnerships in Star Wars history. Across the season, Mando's faith in his creed is tested, which ultimately culminates in him prioritising his care for Grogu over his own beliefs.
The season reaches a satisfying conclusion and the storyline does not overstay its welcome, with a goosebump-inducing Luke Skywalker cameo bringing Mando's shared journey with Grogu to an end. With the threat of antagonist Moff Gideon seemingly concluded, the primary stories of seasons 1 & 2 of the Mandalorian are mostly complete. However, some interesting potential plot threads arise in the season's wake with the unresolved Darksaber situation, as well as Mando's ongoing identity crisis.
Something Star Wars has always excelled at is the moments of spectacle and The Mandalorian Season 2 is no different with at least one jaw-dropper per episode. Some moments of note are the on-screen debuts of Ahsoka Tano and Bo-Katan, the return of Boba Fett, Grogu's origin, and the aforementioned Luke Skywalker appearance. In short, The Mandalorian wastes no time in dropping big reveals but also makes space for plenty of character development and stunning visual moments.
The tireless fan service of Star Wars is both a blessing and a curse, with huge characters often making unlikely returns and appearances. Anakin creating C-3PO, Darth Maul surviving his bisection, and The Emperor's clumsy rebirth are the most distinct examples of this. The Mandalorian, evidently, is a culprit of using this method liberally. It seems a little too convenient how many important characters Mando stumbles upon in his journey. It really should tarnish the authenticity of the show - but it doesn't. The cameos, although unlikely, are executed so exceptionally that you can't help but find them fun. Sure, it's not realistic, but has Star Wars ever pursued true realism?
With the recent announcement of around a dozen new Star Wars TV shows, the franchise seems to be gearing up for an MCU-inspired connected universe. With a rich plethora of characters established within the era of the Mandalorian, it is difficult not to be excited about what the future holds. In many ways, I found myself thinking that this season of the Mandalorian was what I wanted from the sequel-trilogy. This show represents Disney righting some of its wrongs and moving past the teething problems it experienced with the sequels. The Mandalorian is Star Wars done right.